USDOT to Fund $1.7B Low-No Emissions Transport

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA)  announced the availability of nearly $1.7 billion to support state and local efforts to modernize aging transit fleets with low- and no-emission buses, renovate and construct bus facilities, and support workforce development. Made possible by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included historic funding to support public transportation, this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is for two programs that help transit agencies replace old buses, provide good-paying jobs, improve transit affordability and reliability, invest in community health and environmental justice, and contribute to the President’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The first year of these programs under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated funding that will nearly double the number of no-emission transit buses on America’s roads.

“The historic funding opportunity we are announcing today is helping communities across the country purchase new buses, which will cut harmful pollution, and train workers for good-paying jobs” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With these new, cleaner buses, Americans will have better options to get where they need to go and people everywhere will benefit from cleaner air.”

The funding opportunity, which covers FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program, is structured to advance key national priorities.

As part of FTA’s commitment to build a diverse and skilled public transportation workforce and help upskill workers for new bus technologies, five percent of each grant for zero emission projects must be used for workforce development and training. FTA encourages workforce development plans to be developed in partnership with workforce representatives and the use of registered apprenticeships.

This funding opportunity also gives priority consideration to projects that advance environmental justice under the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, and to projects that will catalyze a broader shift towards low- and zero-emission options across the transit sector.

“Buying new buses, including many vehicles that use new technology to fight climate change, will promote cleaner, faster, and safer rides as we move toward a better future,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Thanks to the strong commitment of this Administration to not leave anyone behind, we will be able to connect more people in their communities and improve the reliability of transit service.”

FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program helps transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-built zero-emission and low-emission transit buses along with charging equipment and supporting facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.5 billion over five years for the program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding. For Fiscal Year 2023, approximately $1.22 billion will be available for grants under this program.

FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program supports transit agencies in buying and rehabilitating buses, vans, and related equipment and building bus facilities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly $2 billion over five years for the program. For Fiscal Year 2023, approximately $469 million for grants will be available. Both programs support buses that reduce air pollution and help meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Last year, FTA announced the first round of selections for these programs with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding. These selections will put approximately 1,800 new American-made buses on the roads, with over 1,100 of those using zero-emissions technology. Selections included:

  • The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority was awarded $116 million to buy approximately 230 battery-electric buses to replace older diesel buses and launch a workforce training and development program. The project is designed to improve the safety and reliability of transit service and improve air quality for residents and visitors to New York City.
  • The Memphis Area Transit Authority was awarded $54 million to build an operations and maintenance facility. The facility is designed to accommodate more than 300 vehicles, improve safety, and ensure a good state of repair for the bus fleet.
  • The Colorado Department of Transportation was awarded $34.7 million on behalf of Summit Stage, a rural transit agency that provides bus service in Summit, Park, and Lake counties in northeast Colorado, to build a bus depot for electrical charging and storage. It is designed to replace Summit Stage’s aging facility and prepare for a 100% electric fleet in the future.

With this year’s new round of funding, more transit agencies across the country will be able to build, repair, expand, and improve fleets and the facilities that support them.